I’ve always hated the fact that whenever I visit my father’s grave I get lost, or at least struggle to find it. My father died of diabetes in 2006 and was buried in Avalon Cemetery in Chiawelo, Soweto.
Avalon is almost at capacity now. It is crowded with graves and there’s hardly an empty space. It’s not easy to find the grave of a loved one, especially if it is not well marked. It was of my father I thought when Pastor Simon Mphikeleni Hlongwane spoke at the tombstone unveiling ceremony of my late grandparents in the Free State in August. “One day, you will be asked by your kids, grandchildren or great-grandchildren about where your parents are buried. And it won’t be nice if you can’t even show them where they are because you don’t know,” warned Hlongwane. “Bazalwane [Christians], it is time that we honour our loved ones.”
The unveiled ceremony of my grandfather’s tombstone, Katoor Tsotetsi (1930- 2005), and my grandmother’s, Ntsekiseng Tsotesti (1926-1997) reminded me about how, next year, I wouldn’t get lost when looking for my father or my sister in Avalon cemetery. By then, they too will have a proper resting place, dignified and proud and easy to find. That will make me a very happy man. And their souls will rest in peace.